The Little Red Hen

The Little Red Hen (Video Link)dreamstime_xs_40324783, resized

My paternal grandmother’s favorite story was “The Little Red Hen.” I am not sure if it was because she liked the message or that she liked chickens.  (Chickens on a farm were important then.)

For those of you who have not heard the story of the little red hen, or have forgotten it, the basic story line follows. The little red hen found some wheat grains. She wanted to grow and harvest the wheat so she could make bread. At each step in the process (planting, weeding, and harvesting the wheat, grinding it into flour, and making bread) she asked each of the other farm animals if they would help. Each one, at each step, said, “No.” When each one said they would not help, she replied with, “Then I’ll do it myself.” Finally, after months of work, the little red hen had her bread and was sitting down to enjoy the results of her efforts. Each of the farm animals came up and wanted some of her bread. She told each one, “No, I’ll eat it myself.”

There are many people in the world who are like the little red hen. They know what they want and they work hard to make it happen. If they do not get support from others, they do it anyway.

Unfortunately, there are also many people who are like the other farm animals. They want the results, but they do not want to work for them.

This can occur in very obvious ways. For example, there are people who want money, but do not want a job. They want someone else to give them money without giving anything in return.

This can also occur in less obvious ways. For example, there are people who have a job and want to make more money. But they do not want to gain the additional knowledge, skills, or experience necessary to be promoted. They want to receive more without giving more.

Another example is group projects. I hated group projects in college. Usually everyone in the group wanted an “A.” Usually it was me and maybe one other person that was willing to work hard enough to actually earn an “A.”  The same thing happens in work situations.

Think about your professional and personal relationships. In each relationship are you a “little red hen” or are you one of the “farm animals?” Which do you want to be?

Everything is Temporary

Everything is Temporary (Video Link)

dreamstimefree_24395College was a stressful time. I had a full class load and worked 30-40 hours a week at 2-3 different jobs to pay for it all. In summer, when I did not have classes, I worked 60-80 hours a week.

Something that helped me through all this was the thought that it was temporary. Each class was temporary. I would finish it and move on to the next. Each work shift was temporary. It would end and I could go home. Each project was temporary. Once it was done, it was done.

What made this work for me was that I learned early in college that I could survive anything, as long as it was temporary. And it was all temporary.

I still use this thought frequently to help me through stressful times.

A realization I made after college was that the good times are temporary, too. The good, the bad, everything is temporary.

My suggestion to you is that you survive the bad and enjoy the good while they are there.

Always Keep Your Word, Except…

dreamstime_xs_22364289Always Keep Your Word, Except… (Video Link)

I wrote a piece on the importance of always keeping your word, no matter what. Overall I still agree with this. However, something has happened since then that has made me realize that if we are going to do what is right for our physical, mental, or emotional health, sometimes we cannot keep our word.

The situation for me, briefly, was that I had made a five-year volunteer commitment to an association. Two-thirds through my commitment, my husband’s professional situation changed drastically. This, of course, changed my personal and professional situation. It no longer made sense for me to be a member of that association, never mind be an officer. I decided it was best for me to resign, and best for the association to have someone in my position that could be committed to the association.

It was a very difficult decision for me to make. I had made an obligation and, even though the situation had changed, I felt guilty for not fulfilling that obligation. It was, however, the decision I needed to make.

I still believe it is important to keep your word whenever you can. If not, people will not trust you. Sometimes, though, the cost of keeping your word may be greater than the cost of breaking it.

CC and CC to RC

CC and CC to RC (Video Link)

dreamstime_xs_45996187I recently had a very stressful (and stupid) confrontation with someone. What I learned from it was “CC and CC to RC.”

Clear Communication and Common Courtesy to Reduce Conflict.

In this situation, I think I interpreted what she meant correctly, despite what she said later when I confronted her. However, if she truly meant what she later said she did, had she clearly communicated what she meant and used a little common courtesy, I never would have had the reaction I did. There would not have been any conflict.

If you would like to reduce conflict, be sure that you are clearly communicating your message to the other person. If anything, err on the side of over-communicating. And use a little common courtesy. “Please” and “thank you” can go a long way to reducing conflict.

Remember, “CC and CC to RC.”